Joseph is sold into slavery by his eleven brothers who hated him so much they wanted to murder him. Joseph probably wondered where God was in all this. As it turned out, God was with him through all of this. But it does make a person wonder how strong his faith was through all these trials. It certainly had to be tested.
Paul talks about how difficult it was and is to live totally by the law as prescribed in the Old Testament. There’s just too much fine print.
Paul says that it’s all about trusting God to shape us up for right living. In fact he points out that’s its much easier to trust in God to straighten things out and let him go to work than it is to try to make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed in trying to keep the law.
It does take faith and that may be the hardest part for some folks. In the scripture read from The Message it says, “Say a welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it.”
We don’t have to “do” anything. We simply have to call out to God and trust him to do for us. We do have to embrace the fact that God is going to set everything right and that may be one of the toughest steps to take for some of us.
It’s not easy to put your trust in someone you can’t see or have never seen. It’s not easy to trust in someone you have only heard about or read about but haven’t actually seen or heard. But did you hear what Paul said about what the Scripture says? “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” And it doesn’t matter what denomination or religion you profess at the time you call to him. God is there for anyone who calls out to him. If you ask for help you will get help.
It does take faith to make the first call or take the first step. And for some that is the biggest hurdle.
Last week Jesus had just received the news about his cousin John being beheaded by Herod. He tried to get away with the disciples to a quiet place, a lonely place, but the people followed him and so he ministered to their needs first. And the disciples fed them and cleaned up what was left over. When that was all done he tells them to get in the boat late in the afternoon and go to the other side of the lake.
Jesus takes care of dismissing the people. It doesn’t say how he did that. How do you dismiss 15-20,000 people? But it says he did and finally he was able to climb the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He was there late into the night.
In the meantime the disciples were far out in the Sea of Galilee and they were in trouble. You see the wind had come up and the waves were threatening to capsize their boat.
Can you imagine what they must have thought when they looked up and saw someone walking towards them on the water? I think I would have wondered if I was seeing things too. Jesus assured them that it was him and then Peter thought, “Well, if Jesus can walk on water maybe I can to.” And so he said, “…if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
Good old impetuous Peter. He steps right over the side of the boat and begin walking towards Jesus. But the wind hadn’t stopped blowing and the waves were still rolling and it was then that he realized that maybe he had bitten off more than he could chew. When his doubts got the better of him he began to sink. Peter the Rock began to sink like a rock.
But when he called for Jesus to save him he did. Jesus said he had little faith or a faint heart. He had enough faith in Jesus’ power to take the first step but when he saw the power of the storm all around him he began to doubt.
I think that’s what happens to us sometimes. We take the first step by faith but then we look around us and realize that we’re in a little deep and wonder what if the Lord’s busy today. We forget that the One who made everything controls everything.
Like the man who asked Jesus to cast the demon out of his son if he was able to do anything. And Jesus said, “If you are able! All things can be done for the one who believes.” And he said, “Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief.”
That’s it. If we believe, anything, absolutely anything is possible for God. Like Jesus said, “Let those with ears to hear listen!”
It takes faith to get started. It takes faith to put words together and ask for God’s help. It takes faith to pray. Without faith it’s impossible to believe.
God is here for everyone and wants nothing more than to be in a loving relationship with us. But he’s not going to push himself on us. He is waiting for us to get to that point where we realize that he is God, that he loves us, and forgives us no matter what we have done in our lives prior to coming to him.
Faith, faith as small as a mustard seed, is all it takes. My friends pray to God to strengthen your faith.
Thanks be to God for his grace in our lives. Amen.